Last year, multi-channel networks like VEVO and Alloy Digital pitched directly to advertisers during the yearly Digital Content Newfronts, the web version of TV’s upfronts. According to a report in TheWrap, more MCNs are planning presentations for this year’s event, which will run from April 28th to May 2nd in New York City.
TheWrap’s article specifically cites Maker Studios as a company that will present during Newfronts after only hosting a party last year. Fullscreen is also reportedly “contemplating” an event of its own, while networks like VEVO and Machinima (which hosted its own pitch event outside of Newfronts last year) will potentially return. The article specifically notes that Defy Media, the network formed out of the merger between Alloy Digital and Break Media, will not return to the Newfronts lineup this year, with its CEO citing the speculative nature of the event as the deciding factor.
All of these networks are construction their own Newfronts presentations to attempt to reject the notion that the MCN business model revolves entirely around YouTube. As we discussed yesterday, there isn’t nearly as much money up for grabs on YouTube as meets the eye, and if the MCN model is going to last as a viable one, the networks need to run lucrative ads against all channels–not just those on YouTube.
At the same time, TheWrap’s report also features some skepticism from industry professionals about the Newfronts model, explaining that the utility of an upfront is diminished when there is not scarcity of content. By that reasoning, MCNs may soon look for another way to pitch their shows, but any method will likely continue to keep a safe distance from YouTube.